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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Hymns of Praise

Photo by Bernadette McHugh
Photo by Bernadette McHugh

If you ever hang out in the Ryan Lounge (3rd floor of McCormack) on Thursday afternoon between 12:45 and 1:30, you just might hear the sound of people singing in the Chapel. No, service is not going on at this time; it’s the Gospel Choir rehearsing their songs of praise.

The choir is open to anyone with an interest and love of singing. You don’t have to be religious to join and you don’t even have to have a good singing voice. There are presently only five members, but anyone with an interest shouldn’t hesitate to drop by the Chapel on a Thursday afternoon, as you will be warmly welcomed.

The atmosphere during rehearsals is very laid back and relaxed. Anyone who might be nervous about their singing abilities shouldn’t worry, because the purpose of the Gospel Choir is to enjoy singing as a group and to build friendships.

The Choir sings all sorts of religious hymns, from older classics such as “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands,” to more modern songs such as “Unspeakable Joy.” From time to time, they will also sing something with an international flavor, such as Reggae.

In a typical rehearsal, the choir will begin with breathing exercises designed to loosen the diaphragm. After that, they usually finish warming up by singing a song softly to prepare the vocal chords for more dynamic songs. After warm-ups, the group moves right into rehearsing material they will eventually sing in a performance. After practice, the group huddles together for an optional closing prayer.

Members of the group are Desiree Dunbar, Cathy Murray, Shaermal Richardson, Nemisha Dawa, and teacher Rev. Adrienne Berry-Burton, who is an associate minister at Zion Baptist Church and has been involved with gospel singing for years. A few of the students also sing in their church choirs.

On May 3, the Gospel Choir will have its first and only performance of the semester. The location is still undetermined, but most likely it will not be on the UMB campus because the Choir is performing as a part of a community event in Dorchester to raise money for children in Africa suffering from AIDS and HIV. Anyone interested in attending should drop by before or after a rehearsal and ask Desiree Dunbar or Rev. Berry-Burton for more information. Flyers for the event should be posted around school later in the month.